What Is Content Writing? 10 Top Tips To Elevate Your Brand Online22 min read

Content Marketing September 16, 2022 13 min read

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What Is Content Writing? 10 Top Tips To Elevate Your Brand Online22 min read

Reading Time: 13 minutes

The thought of content writing makes a lot of business owners nervous. But do you write posts on social media? Or the copy on your site’s “About” page? If so, you’re already a content writer. Even if you don’t know it yet.

Digital marketing isn’t a choice anymore. And you’re seriously limiting your reach if you don’t have an online presence. If you have a company blog, you’re already a step ahead. But most are generic, passive, and not worth readers’ time.

You don’t have to be a trained writer to reap the benefits of content writing. And you don’t have to spend any money to get good at it. You just need to be prepared to spend some time learning.

So, what is content writing? And how can you elevate your brand with these tactics?

  1. Create a memorable brand voice
  2. Use the skyscraper technique for SEO
  3. Don’t be lazy with your intro and conclusion
  4. Keep written content visual
  5. Learn from the best content writers
  6. Each social media platform has different rules
  7. Copywriting skills build over time
  8. Mix up the content marketing you create
  9. Use storytelling to connect with people
  10. Include plenty of stats and examples throughout

1. Create a memorable brand voice

Every brand should have its own personality. And they show it through what they “say” in content writing. So, creating a unique personality starts with having a memorable brand voice.

It should represent your business through words and tone. And it should identify you on every platform you’re on. Not just your site’s landing pages. But before you create your own, you need to know who you’re speaking to. 

Any successful marketing strategy starts with research. Because we all adapt the way we speak depending on the listener and situation. 

So, find out who follows your social media accounts. Look at who they’re connected to. And how they speak to others. Research your competitors. Piece together the type of people who make up your target audience.

If you have customer support channels, you can use these messages to inspire your brand voice.

Source: Marketing Examples

It’s also handy to look at examples of companies doing it well. What makes them so good? How could you apply those lessons to your own brand voice?

Try creative exercises too. Fill in the blanks for the sentence: “We’re not ___. We’re ___.” This is one of the easiest exercises for nailing down your tone. For example: “We’re not rude. We’re funny.”

Repeat as many times as you can until you have a solid base. Then practice by writing in your new brand voice wherever you can:

  1. eCommerce product descriptions
  2. Email marketing
  3. Long-form content
  4. Press releases
  5. Social media posts
  6. Sales copy

Also, don’t forget to create brand voice guidelines once you’ve nailed it. These will help you stay on track. Especially if you ever outsource your content writing. 

Source: Skype

You want your target audience to relate to you. So, you have to connect with them through writing in a way that others don’t. Just remember to be genuine. That way, the relationship will be too.

2. Use the skyscraper technique for SEO

Content creation and search engine optimization (SEO) go hand in hand. And the #1 traffic source for high-income bloggers is organic traffic from Google.

But a webpage can’t just expect to get backlinks. You need to earn them. So, how can your content top the search engine results pages (SERPs)? With something called the Skyscraper Technique.

As humans, we’re attracted to the best. So, the idea is to create the best piece of content in your space.

Source: Ahrefs

This tactic was devised by Backlinko’s Brian Dean. And in his case study, the number of backlinks to his ‘Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List’ SEO content shot up by using it.

Google ranking factors – Referring domains growth

Organic search traffic to his entire site also doubled in just 14 days. Now, this was in 2013. But the technique still applies.

So, how does it work?

  1. Start with keyword research
  2. Find the top-performing content
  3. Create something way better
  4. Email outreach to people who have linked the old content you’ve improved

Source: HubSpot

Good content writing just won’t cut it anymore. People are craving in-depth guides and case studies. So, here are a few tips to make yours better than anything else in the space:

  • Write something longer with more actionable tips
  • Use updated stats, facts, and graphics
  • Make it more visually-appealing
  • Add more value and detail

The Skyscraper Technique only works if you genuinely add value. Don’t shove in a few pictures or a couple more average tips and think that’ll work.

3. Don’t be lazy with your intro and conclusion

Quality content writing needs to grab the reader’s attention. You need to convince people that you are the correct choice. The only choice. And you need to do it through your content strategy.

The main body is where the bulk of your argument happens. But most readers won’t even get there. Heck, only 20% will make it past the headline. Your introduction has to persuade people to stick around.

Persuasive communication has 3 simple steps. And you need to hit them all in your intro:

  1. Thesis – state the viewpoint that is widely held and accepted
  2. Antithesis – highlight the problems with this viewpoint
  3. Synthesis – share a new viewpoint that resolves these problems

Here’s a great example from an article on the subject. The opening lines are the thesis:

Then comes the antithesis. The problem that needs solving:

And finally, the synthesis. The thing that’s going to persuade readers to stick around to the end of your content:

This way of introducing content keeps people engaged. After that, you need depth in the main body to keep people interested. Then finish it off with a solid conclusion.

I’ve made the common mistake of summarizing what’s been learned. But conclusions are your last chance to win over the reader and make them take action. They should drive the points you made in your intro home.

You want to do a few things:

  • Restate your opening thesis
  • Address the points you made in your intro
  • Pull together your main points and next steps
  • End with a CTA (call to action)

All forms of content should follow this structure. Plus, one last content writing tip from editor Erica Schneider:

It’s time to get excited about your introductions and conclusions again. Don’t let them be an afterthought. Hook your readers and keep them satisfied until they’re done.

4. Keep written content visual

Content writing shouldn’t be boring. So, you’re going to find it hard to keep people’s attention with a wall of text. This is a great template for a “how to” article. But what’s it missing?

Source: Semrush

Engaging content has to be visual. Articles and blogs need lots of images and videos to break up the text. Bloggers who add 10+ images to blog posts report stronger results. But get this—only 3% of bloggers add that many.

I’m a big fan of visual articles. And there are so many types you can use to break up your blog:

  • Data-driven graphics
  • Infographics
  • GIFs
  • Memes
  • Embedded videos
  • Screenshots

Some companies are getting super creative with these. This “gifographic” from KlientBoost merges the trusty infographic with gif-type animations:

You don’t see much of these yet. So, it’s a great style to jump onboard early.

Visuals can also be a subtle way of getting your branding in people’s minds. And you don’t even have to be a graphic designer to create this kind of original high-quality content.

Canva is probably the most popular and accessible design tool. I use it for all of Quuu’s. But there are tons of options out there. You can use these tools to create all kinds of visual content. Plus, customized brand kits that make sticking to your chosen colors and fonts a whole lot easier.

Standing out in a sea of mediocre bloggers doesn’t take much. And your content writing can be much more fun to read if you fill it with visual aids. Especially if they’re original.

5. Learn from the best content writers

The greatest novelists in the world are always reading. And professional content writers have to do the same. So, be prepared to read other people’s content. A lot. 

The best place to start is by finding content writers in your niche. You can use search engines for this. Just search for your industry, then “bloggers” as a start. So, lawyers might start by searching “law bloggers”.

Here are a few of the top results:

Or you can find content writers on social media platforms. Try searching for relevant hashtags and scroll down the feed. Or see who’s commenting on trending topics. You can also ask your network for suggestions.

There are also tons of experts worth following on copywriting and marketing in general. Copyblogger’s Brian Clark or Amanda Natividad, for example:

Once you’ve got a list of people to follow, find their blogs and sites. Then note down a few things:

  • The style they write in
  • How they format their posts
  • How often they post
  • Any visual aids
  • How active their audience is

These will be different for each creator. And you can’t just copy someone’s style and hope it’ll work for you. Use them as inspiration. Then test different strategies with your audience.

You can also quote your favorite content writers in your pieces. This can help take your writing to the next level. And stop you from looking too self-promotional (if you’re trying to plug your service or product.)

They can also be used to add alternative or opposing opinions. That way, you’ll have a more well-rounded argument.

Reading other content writers’ work will only improve your own. It helps expand your knowledge and vocabulary. And can give you ideas for different types of content. Win-win.

6. Each social media platform has different rules

Social media used to be a lot simpler. You followed your friends and saw their posts chronologically. Now, algorithms rule. And they suck.

You should still use social media marketing to supplement website content. But you need a plan for each platform you’re on. Different demographics favor certain apps. So, you won’t be able to access your entire target audience on just one.

Every strategy begins with research. So, let’s assume you’ve done a lot of digging into your audience. You know what they’re talking about on LinkedIn. What they’re posting on Instagram. And how your product or service helps make their lives easier.

Source: WordStream

Now you’ve got all that information. It’s time to adjust the posts for the platforms you’re on. You also need to take the frequency of posting into account. Twitter encourages constant posting. But that’s considered spamming on other platforms.

You also want to think carefully before you post anything on social media. Someone can easily save something before you have time to delete it. This handy flowchart can help weed out what isn’t worth sharing:

Source: Twitter

Let’s say you’ve chosen “yes” for all those points. You’re good to go. Don’t forget to check longer-form content for these last few suggestions:

  • Make posts easy to read by writing at 7th-8th grade level
  • Use subheadings, bullet points, and lists to make it scannable
  • Keep paragraphs to 2 or 3 lines as much as you can
  • Stick to the point and avoid repeating yourself

Content writing on social media isn’t an exact science. What works for your brand and audience won’t for others. So, a lot of it involves trial and error. And perseverance before you see an impact.

7. Copywriting skills build over time

“Content writing and copywriting exist on a continuum”. At least according to Copyblogger founder Brian Clark.

It’s so much easier to write long, rambly sentences. And actually takes more work to stick to the point. But content writing skills can always be improved. Even if you’re a solid writer already. It just takes practice.

When I first started blogging, I wrote the way I was taught in school. A more formal style called “academic writing”. You’ll know the one.

Here’s a sample from one of my first blogs:

Source: Quuu

But over time, I’ve moved into a more casual style. If I were to rewrite the above sentence now, it’d be: 

“So, what’s content creation? Well, it’s making original content. Then marketing it to your target audience.”

Here are some more examples of what I mean:

Old style New style
I would be grateful if you could reply to me as soon as possible. Please get back to me ASAP.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. If you need to know more, let us know.
When conducting these optical tests, the active participation of the patient being tested is required. You need the patient’s help when doing these eye tests.

The style is called conversational copy. Writing how you talk. And it takes time to get good at it. You’ll always be learning and improving. Here’s expert Nick Usborne talking about how to use it:

A copywriter puts words together to make people take action. The words are the ‘copy’. Your content has the same goal. It doesn’t matter if it’s a single line or a white paper report. So, you need to improve your copy to boost conversions.

If you don’t think you’ll ever be great at it, try outsourcing. There are plenty of freelance writers and writing services out there. So, get them to create different content types on your behalf. Just get some out there.

8. Mix up the content marketing you create

Great content writing doesn’t have to be an article. Or anything purely written. Marketers know how important visual content is. It’s the most effective type for brand awareness because it’s more engaging. 

So, how do you include different types of content writing in these? Take videos, for example. Google loves them. Done right, they rank highly. And a video script can help you create a detailed plan for creating your own.

HubSpot has some suggestions for writing one if you’re new to it:

  • Write conversationally
  • Keep it concise
  • Include text overlays and other details
  • Aim it at your target audience and the platform you’ll post on
  • Script every single word

Here’s a template for inspiration:

You can also add the transcripts when you post them. Not only do they make it more accessible to a wider audience. But they can also make it easier to rank for keywords people might be searching for.

It’s not just video, either. A piece of content writing can go alongside:

  • Podcasts
  • Slideshows
  • Infographics
  • Screenshots
  • Interactive tools

I always include full blog posts for any infographics we post on the Quuu blog. They get 3x more shares than any other type of social media content. And they almost act as an introduction to the full guide.

With keyword research alongside, you’re way more likely to rank organically too.

Articles and blog posts aren’t going anywhere. But humans are drawn to visual content. So, mix up the types you’re creating. It’ll keep your audience interested. And make sure to add content writing to any visual format you can.

9. Use storytelling to connect with people

What’s one of the most important skills of high-quality content writers? Proofreading? Sure. But technology can help you out there. Something technology can’t do as well yet? Tell a story.

Stories light up our brains. Literally. Humans communicate through them. And the best ones grab and hold our attention. A great story can turn potential customers into loyal ones.

Source: Pamela Rutledge

Your content writing needs to tap into people’s emotions. And that can be positive or negative. But unlike a novel, you can’t wait until the end to get to the point. You have to reveal it early and stick to it.

When creating content, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. What do you want people to feel?
  2. What are the main takeaways of the story?
  3. What’s your CTA (call to action)?

You’re on track for an engaging story if you can answer these each time.

You can use this tactic for all types of content writing. Check out this email from CRED. All they’re doing is telling users about bug fixes in their latest app update. But see how engaging it is because they’ve turned it into a story:

Source: StoryChief

Storytelling content that connects with your audience has a few things in common:

  • Puts your audience into the character’s shoes
  • Chooses one core message
  • Makes sure there’s a conflict and resolution
  • Includes visual cues
  • Weaves your brand’s identity into it
  • Picks a theme and runs with it (entertainment, shock, heart-warming, etc.)

Storytelling helps improve the buying experience. Because it adds a human touch. And helps people find value in what you offer. Rather than you just telling them how great your business is. 

Those brands that nail it have loyal, emotionally-engaged customers. And those are the kinds of people you want to hold on to. Because they’ll repurchase and recommend you to others.

10. Include plenty of stats and examples throughout

Facts and figures give your content writing credibility. Yes, you can tell a great story. But these show you’ve put in hard work and research too. 

Statistics help highlight specific ideas in your piece. They also show your readers how they can apply the advice to their own lives. But you don’t need to keep them in a standard text version. 

2.3 million blog posts go live every day (just on WordPress.) So, yours needs to stand out.

Turning your stats into data-driven graphics can help with this. Because they let people visualize your research findings:

Source: WordStream

They’re also more memorable. One of the easiest ways to help people store information in their long-term memory is to pair it with meaningful images. So, turning data into graphics will make it stick in your readers’ minds long after they leave the page.

Just make sure any metrics you quote are still relevant. Do some research and find the source for any you link to. You’ll find that lots of marketing teams link to studies and reports where the original document can’t be found.

It’s super annoying. And it can make you look like a sloppy researcher. Yes, it’s ok to refer to older studies. Just as long as you’re upfront about it.

Upgrade your content writing with relevant data and examples. It’ll help to bulk up your own research. And you’ll learn a lot for future reference while you’re at it.

Conclusion

Content writing shouldn’t make you nervous. Because we’re all content writers already. We all just need to hone the craft over time.

All parts of this plan start with audience research. You have to know everything about the people you’re targeting. Only then will you be able to write content that resonates.

When was the last time you looked into exactly who is buying your products? You need to find that data if it wasn’t in the past few months. Your main demographic might have changed and you don’t even know it.

Create a unique brand voice from that research and use it everywhere. From your Tweets and CTAs to customer support. Anyone can become one of the great content writers of their niche. It just takes practice and patience.

Have you tried long-form content writing? Have you seen any success with anything you’ve written? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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What Is Content Writing? 10 Top Tips To Elevate Your Brand Online
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What Is Content Writing? 10 Top Tips To Elevate Your Brand Online
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You don’t have to spend any money to get good at content writing. You just need to be prepared to spend some time learning instead.
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